Natsu Matsuri [夏祭り] – Summer Festival
Festival season in Japan is definitely SUMMER!
There are various festivals held by municipalities, shrines, temples and shops across Japan. Travel guide books, Magazines feature information and list of popular summer festivals every year.
At festival, ladies are dressed in yukata [summer kimono] and various food stalls are lined on streets.
Tōrō Nagashi [灯籠流し] – Lantern Floating Ceremony
Toro Nagashi is a ceremony to commemorate ancestors as floating paper lanterns [toro / 灯籠] to river, (traditionally the sea).
The ceremony usually takes place on the last night of the bon festival [盆]. The lanterns represent people who have died and people believe that their spirits are sent back to the other world by floating to water.
Toro Nagashi is often held with the firework display.
Japan’s 3 Greatest Lantern Floating Ceremony
- Eiheiji Daitoro Nagashi [永平寺大灯籠流し] in Fukui
- Miyadu Toro Ngashi [宮津灯籠流し] in Kyoto
- Kyoto Arashiyama Toro Ngashi [京都嵐山灯籠流し] in Kyoto
Tanabata Matsuri [七夕祭り] – Japanese Star Festival
Tanabata is a Japanese festival that takes place on July 7th every year.
Tanabata often translated as star festival is derived from a Chinese legend of 2 separated lovers(stars).
Custom of Tanabata is that people write thier wishes on tanzaku [短冊 / colorful paper strips ] and hang them on bamboo branches in the hope of that wishes will come true.
Decolated bamboo branches with tanzaku are seen at shopping center, schools and Tanabata festivals.
Japan’s 3 Greatest Tanabata Matsuri
- Sendai Tanabata Matsuri [仙台七夕まつり] in Miyagi
- Shonan Hitatsuka Tanabata Matsuri [湘南ひらつか七夕まつり] in Kyoto
- Anjo Tanabata Matsuri [安城七夕まつり] in Aichi